When I was young and my father was still living, he’d always remind us that we’re never among the rich population. He would persistently remind us of his roots where money is a big limiting factor and where he would have to outsmart society in order to attain the education he needed and wanted so much. Hitting two birds at the same time, he wanted us to learn how important education was and the virtue of living a simple life. Even years before his death he has already primed us that there’s nothing he could leave us with except the education he painstakingly worked hard for. And I thought then, it was only an exaggeration of what he wanted us to learn, but true enough — he left us with nothing but the education he repeatedly (and sometimes annoyingly) emphasized to us.
However, as a child then, I was well aware of our financial status in life. I knew we were not as poor as my father tried to portray we were. In the thirteen years that I studied in an all-girl private school, it was fairly easy how to assess where we stand. In terms of material needs and wants, our wants would fairly outweigh our basic needs. While in some aspects of life we lived simply, there were some aspect we could easily spend for. Back then, I was very liberal in buying original and first-hand books in the bookstore every week after class. And my father was very lenient about this.
In a way my father had an admiring rags-to-riches life. Through perseverance, he was able to graduate with a medical degree and was able to establish a stable medical profession. While I, still in my medical schooling, have only started to muse about life and financial stability. Only after losing my father, as well as our source of income, have I felt the pangs and at the same time the value of simple life he taught us when we were young. When I thought back then was already a simple life, now is even simpler and certainly without silver spoons.
Still, I’m very thankful for the more important values in life that my father has left me with. They’re not easy to live out, but to be thankful right now, despite all adversities eases life significantly.
Enrollment period has been a humbling experience for me since my father passed away. Sometimes with bitterness that things would not be this way if he were still alive, but always filled with gratitude in the end. My life may not be the rags-to-riches life he lived, but at least this simple life is teaching me the lessons I’d need in life.